General Electric

There’s a backstory—there always is—Topsy was a live elephant and you can see the black and white video on the Web, or maybe you already saw the video of the decapitation by Islamic terrorists of an Australian journalist and this is just too tame. I watched it though, and I’ve been to Coney Island, the boardwalk at Asbury, and to Palisades Park. I was there for the World’s Fair in 1964. The Sinclair Dinosaurs haunted me, the incorrect Brontosaur that couldn’t find a home after the fair was done; its head moved; its jaws opened and closed. I was only four. I never saw the Diving Horse at Atlantic City. But you want to hear about the elephant. I saw the video, the elephant led in, then nothing—there is no sound track or voice over—than the tremble as if the creature has been startled, then the smoke coming up from its feet, and then it lists and falls forward, crumpling like a toy. It was all about a war: Edison versus Westinghouse, and Edison had been electrocuting cats and dogs for years with AC claiming his DC was safer. When Coney Island wanted to hang their rogue elephant for killing the man who fed him a lit cigarette, Edison had a better idea. I don’t get AC-DC, I bet you don’t either, but I get why destroying someone else’s electricity is an insult, thrusting them into prehistory. Dinosaurs and humans didn’t live in the same era, though if you go to Creation Evidence Museum in Glen Rose, Texas, you might be convinced they did. They have human footprints in stone right next to those of dinosaurs. It could be true, couldn’t it? We always leave something behind.

Laura McCullough | Mudlark No. 32
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